President Donald Trump has never attracted significant support from celebrities, and that’s not about to change as the 2020 presidential election only gets closer. In a newly released interview that she did with Vogue, popular singer Rihanna slammed Trump as himself the “most mentally ill human being in America” in response to him dismissing gun violence in the United States as essentially just a mental health problem. He made those pronouncements in the wake of a weekend of violence that left more than 30 people dead in two mass shooting incidents in Texas and Ohio, respectively.
Asked about the incidents, Rihanna told Vogue:
‘It is devastating. People are being murdered by war weapons that they legally purchase. This is just not normal. That should never, ever be normal. And the fact that it’s classified as something different because of the color of their skin? It’s a slap in the face. It’s completely racist. Put an Arab man with that same weapon in that same Walmart and there is no way that Trump would sit there and address it publicly as a mental health problem. The most mentally ill human being in America right now seems to be the president.’
The actual shooter in the El Paso, Texas, incident was a white supremacist who wrote racist diatribes before driving some ten hours to the Walmart where he killed 22 people and wounded many more. In that “manifesto,” he used some of the exact same anti-immigrant rhetoric that Trump has, denouncing an immigrant “invasion.” When apprehended on the scene, the shooter reiterated to police that he was specifically targeting Mexicans — and yet, despite these issues, Trump and his cronies still seek to dismiss the threat of white supremacy. Fox News host Tucker Carlson went so far that he called the threat a “hoax” on his show.
For Trump and those around him to resort to blaming “mental illness” for the gun violence means that they can find an excuse for not addressing the proliferation of the dangerous weapons themselves. In a pattern dramatically different from those found in most countries developed to about the same level as the U.S., there have been 30,179 gun violence deaths in the U.S. and counting since January 1 of this year, but after the El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, incidents, Trump insisted:
‘Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger — not the gun.’
Yet, without a gun, no one could shoot somebody else. It really isn’t that hard.
In the initial wake of the El Paso and Dayton incidents, there’d been chatter from the GOP about possibly doing something like approving the universal background check legislation that the Democratic majority in the U.S. House approved months ago. That hasn’t happened, and neither has any other progress towards really curtailing gun violence in the United States.
The universal background check legislation is one of hundreds of bills that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has kicked to the side and refused to bring up for consideration after they were approved by the House. Trump still rails on about the supposedly “do nothing Democrats” anyway.
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